My Ramadan 2020 Advent Calendar

Being a Muslim, Ramadan has always been the special month of the year for us . I have lived my whole childhood in Saudi Arabia as my father was employed there. Every year Ramadan would come, and when we were little we would see our parents fasting, praying extra prayers and the special preparations for suhoor and iftar. We would try to copy our parents and I remember my mother telling us that children can fast two times a day. So you can start your fast after your breakfast till lunch and start your second fast after having lunch then we can open our fast at iftar time together… lol .. and we believed them (now the same thing I am doing with my children 😀 )

My oldest daughter (who is 10 now Ma sha ALLAH) has started fasting from this year’s Ramadan, so I thought it’s the best time to teach my children the true meaning of Ramadan, why do we fast in this Holy month and why it is so important to Muslims. That’s why this year I decided to do something extra special in Ramadan. We do the Ramadan decorations every year but this year I wanted to do something to make it more exciting for them.

When I googled and searched on pinterest, I liked the idea of advent calendar. So I decided to make a Ramadan advent calendar. But we were in a lockdown, so couldn’t go out to buy the crafts. Luckily I got everything from home. A black cardboard, a gift wrapping paper, a string, and a sliver glitter foam paper and I made the simplest Ramadan Advent Calender (when you have 3 kids pretty much you always have these crafty kind of things at home all year long  😉 )

Most fun part was to fill the advent calendar. Instead of putting small things in it, I filled it with Ramadan good deeds(like help mama in the kitchen or clean your room), daily Dikr (like say Alhamdulilah 70 times or recite Surah Nas), and some small information (like which is the longest and shortest surah of Quran.) and  I told them to open one envelope daily 15 min before the iftar time because that’s the time we should make duas while waiting for the adhan. So I thought it would be the best time to talk about the religion and tell them short historic Islamic stories.

The whole point was to make them excited about Ramadan not only for decorations and food but to know the true meaning of Ramadan. And it kind of worked… every day when I was preparing for iftar, my daughters would take out one envelope by themselves and waited for mama and baba to gather around the table and do the deed of the day.

I really enjoyed making this Ramadan Advent Calender and I will definitely make one for the next year’s Ramadan too (In sha ALLAH) with whole new theme, new information and new set of good deeds. May ALLAH give us hundreds of more Ramadan to spend it with our children with true Holy spirit and accept our prayers and duas. Ameen.

Zoom Birthday Party in the Lockdown

So it was my son’s 3rd birthday on 14 june and me and my husband were really excited about his birthday for months because we were planning to have a big birthday party at our place. My son (Ali) is very fond of construction site machines and construction vehicles like excavators and backhoes and cranes (even i didnt know these words untill my son started watching blippi .. lol)

Me and my husband just love to do birthday decorations and planning for birthdays for our kids (our oldest daughter is 10 and second daughter will be 7 in august this year) and we have been doing this for years now… 🙂

This year, since march we were planing Ali’s 3rd construction theme birthday. I had search all the decoration ideas from pinterest, the idea of the cake , the buntings, the food … everything. and then…. lockdown started due to covid-19. We were so disappointed because we were so looking forward to it.

One day, after ramadan and exactly 2 weeks before Ali’s birthday, I was scrolling down on face book and somebody was asking about the party props for zoom birthday. Then it clicked me that we can also have Ali’s birthday party online and we can invite our family and friends on zoom.

We got really excited and started planning everything again that how should we go about it , where we should make the back drop so that it can be visible to everyone on the laptop, how to make the happy birthday banner for construction site theme, the balloons and everything. The fun part was that we made these birthday invitation cards online from http://www.greetingsisland.com . They have different themes and we were lucky to find the construction theme invitation on this website. My husband customized the details and send it to all our family and friends we wanted to invite for the zoom birthday party. This was the first time we had done this online invitation thing and everyone also got very excited about the zoom party because it was something new for them too. As soon as we send the invitations, we started to get their replies that they liked this idea very much and they confirmed at once that they will join us.

Luckily Alis birthday was on sunday so we started to setup our decorations on saturday. My husband made the perfect construction theme backdrop. He also got the caution tape from a hardware store. My daughters were also very excited and the helped us with blowing up the balloons and I made the cake at home with simple store bought chocolate cake mix and did the decoration with the small construction site toys and some chocolates like maltesers , chocolate flavor love letters waffer rolls, kitkats for the details.

We decided the birthday time at 7pm malaysia time because all our relatives are from different time zone from Pakistan, Bahrain and Sweden. So this was the time when everyone was available. And when we came online 10 min before 7 pm, everyone was already online for Alis birthday. They all were so happy to see the complete decoration like a real birthday party. We took pictures, selfies and everybody sang happy birthday for Ali. We enjoyed the party for one hour. At the end we all ordered pizza for dinner.

It was not something we planned but it turned out to be a really good and fun idea to see all your family altogether on your sons special day. So this is how we had our first zoom birthday. I hope this pandemic ends soon and we can be with our family and friends like before and be able to share these special moments with our loved ones.